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."Certainly it was not his own ship, or he'd never have scuttled her.There are gentlemen in England still who put up the funds for scoundrels like Harrison, and it is generally impossible to prove their complicity.""I suppose it is still a profitable trade then," observed Andrew."Aye, and will be until the Americans and the French agree to cooperate," growled the captain."The British Navy cannot stop American ships, and the French never punish their citizens when we catch them."Lady Parr managed to turn the conversation to the infamous behaviour of the French and the Americans in general, both of them given to revolutions that quite cut up everyone's peace.Teresa and Andrew between them managed to silence Marco when he attempted to inform her that Costa Rica, and indeed all of Central America, was on the verge of its own revolution.Teresa did not care to give her ladyship any more ammunition against her.She already had plenty.Teresa's lessons in deportment began on the morrow.Lady Parr commandeered the wardroom between the hours of nine and one, pointing out to the unfortunate officers that they might very well go to their cabins or on deck.Here Teresa paraded up and down in front of her ladyship's eagle eye until her carefree stride was reduced to a dainty step.Soon she could walk arm in arm with Muriel without pulling her along.She learned to curtsy gracefully, and to adjust the depth of her curtsy to the rank, called out by Lady Parr, of the person to whom she was supposedly being presented.She had some difficulty in distinguishing between the deference due to the King or Queen and that due the Prince Regent."Not that you will meet the King, of course, for he is quite mad by now.Duke!" Her ladyship frowned in thought as Teresa produced a creditable ducal curtsy."I daresay you will not go so low to the Duke of Stafford as he is your uncle, at least once he has acknowledged you.Viscount! No, no, girl, that is deep enough for an earl, or even a marquis."Muriel helped her practise conversing in a soft voice upon unexceptionable topics such as the weather.Lady Parr had nothing but praise for her low, musical voice.Her laugh, however, was sadly deprecated and proved impossible to remedy.The only alternative Teresa managed to produce was a horrid titter, which she herself refused to consider acceptable."We cannot expect perfection," sighed Lady Parr."You will have to confine yourself to smiling, Miss Danville.Sir Archibald did not approve of females laughing, so that will do very well.Your teeth are good, I am glad to see."Another failure was the art of fluttering fan and eyelashes: Teresa simply could not take it seriously enough to concentrate.In fact, the effort invariably called forth that unfortunate laugh.The lessons were interrupted twice a day when Teresa made her rounds of the ex-slaves, attending to their ills.Andrew was openly admiring of both her compassion and her medical skills.On the second day Muriel asked permission to help, and though she was ill at ease, continued to join her thereafter.Teresa had to respect the effort she was making to overcome her timidity.In spite of her jealousy, suppressed with difficulty, and Lady Parr's constant comparisons to her detriment, she found herself growing fond of Andrew's future wife.She also felt a growing attachment to Annie.The girl was always cheerful and ready to help.When the Destiny anchored off Grand Turk and the boats started ferrying the Africans ashore, Teresa made up her mind to ask Annie to stay with her as her abigail.Annie accepted joyfully.Despite Lady Parr's distaste at sharing the cabin with a savage, when it was overfull already, a pallet was made up for her on the floor.Kinsey took the girl under her wing at once, and Muriel donated a couple of her mourning dresses to make her some decent clothes.Clad demurely in grey, Annie was miraculously transformed from savage to maidservant, and under Kinsey's kindly tutelage she began to learn an abigail's skills.Marco was also taking lessons.His intellectual curiosity unbounded, he had persuaded Captain Fitch to teach him the science of navigation.At all hours of the day and night, he could be seen wielding sextant, astrolabe and chronometer, consulting the Nautical Almanac, or bending over Admiralty charts with dividers in hand.Teresa's course of instruction continued meanwhile with the rules of behaviour in Polite Society."A young lady never dances more than twice with any gentleman at the same ball, and must not waltz until given permission by one of the patronesses of Almack's.""I am not likely to break that rule, ma'am," laughed Teresa, "for I have no notion how to waltz."Nor, it seemed, did she know how to dance the cotillion, or the quadrille, or any English country dances.Andrew and Muriel were enlisted, and Marco reluctantly joined in the lessons to make up the numbers.With the wardroom table cleared to one side there was just space enough to learn the steps as long as they moved with great care.Since their only music was Lady Parr's tuneless hum, it would in any case have been impossible to infuse any spirit into the exercise.To supplement the list of possible subjects of polite conversation, there was a list of unmentionables.This included religion, politics, prize fighting and most parts of the body.Certain works of literature, such as poetry and the latest novels, were acceptable in moderation."Do you read, Miss Danville?" enquired her ladyship."Why yes, ma'am.I have read most of my father's library [ Pobierz całość w formacie PDF ]